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Crime & Punishment of Sunday, 18 June 2017


Pastor arrested over witchcraft

The Bolgatanga District Court, presided over by Osman Abdul-Hakeem, on Thursday remanded another set of five persons in prison custody for allegedly threatening and molesting three old ladies they suspected to be witches, at Gare, in the Talensi District of the Upper East Region.

The court also granted a bench warrant to the police for the arrest of one Tarebon, who is on the run.

Their remand comes just two days after five suspects were remanded in police custody in connection with the lynching of an old lady in the same district.

On Thursday, June 15, 2017 the police in Bolgatanga brought five persons, including a 29-year-old Evangelist, Akwesi Ali Baba, before court over an alleged witchcraft accusation. They are to reappear in court on June 30, 2017.

Presenting the facts in court, the prosecutor, Inspector Gilbert Boateng Addae, said the four other suspects – Doug Sapak, Mba Gudabe, Missah Samlate and Malupaaya Mbanyia – are farmers.

The evangelist has been charged with publication of false news intended to cause fear and alarm to the public. The others were charged with threat of death, unlawful entry and causing unlawful damage.

On June 6, 2017, at about 6:00 am, Evangelist Ali Baba allegedly accused the three old ladies of being witches and based on that, the other accused persons and others, led by one Tarebon, attacked the three women and threatened to kill them.

The women managed to run to the palace of the Gare chief to report the accusations leveled against them.

The accused persons reportedly whisked the women away from the chief’s palace to meet a “witch doctor” at Yeliwongo, a border town between the Bongo District in the Upper East Region and the Republic of Burkina-Faso. While there, the women were subjected to an ordeal at the hands of the “witch doctor” for three days.

On June 9, 2017, the accused brought the women back to Gare and told the chief that they (women) had been confirmed to be witches and that they were sending them to Gambaga for another trial.

The chief refused them their desire and asked them to release the women, which provoked them (accused) and they threatened to kill the women, and for that reason, the chief decided to keep them in his palace.

The accused persons reportedly went to the rooms of the women in search of a supposed pot the evangelist had told them they had been bewitched with.

A concerned resident who heard of the incident, reported the case to the police and were eventually arrested.